Monday, January 07, 2008

Assorted Rants

Will Somebody PLEASE challenge Hillary on this 35-year claim? ("I'm not just running on a promise of change, I'm running on 35 years of change.")

Thirty-five years ago (1973), Hillary a the newly-minted lawyer following Bill to Arkansas. She was a lawyer until '93, when the Clintons moved North. She was apparently a pretty cool lawyer, and did some nice pro bono work for nonprofits. She has long been an advocate for kids. From '93-'01, she was the first lady, and she was elected to office for the first time in 2000. She may well have been "fighting for change for 35 years," but she did so as a powerful lawyer in a very high income bracket.

Barack Obama, by comparison, was actually fighting for change quite a bit earlier. He was a community organizer in Chicago from '83 to '88 before attending law school. Returning from Harvard in '91, Obama continued to lead, organizing a voter-registration drive. Then, while employed as a Constitutional law prof, he first ran for and won office in '96--four years before Hillary.

I don't ding Hillary for being inexperienced--she's done a lot. But she didn't actually do much "fighting" until the new millenium, and the record she's running on is entirely her husband's. She has 35 years of experience in the manner that all good liberals have a lifetime's experience--we "fight" the good fight in our own, unelected ways.

Partisan ≠ Liberal
Obama has run a remarkably non-partisan campaign, in the sense that he has not appealed to the Democratic base. That is a style of compaigning and is uncorrelated with liberalness. Hillary has been running a highly partisan campaign which is similarly uncorrelated with liberalness. Yet almost everyone in the country seems to think that because Obama proposes to be a uniter, he must be a moderate (including the scads of independents who are lining up behind his liberal platform and eschewing Hillary's more moderate one). It is not so. His style is a breath of fresh air, but magnificently, his politics are progressive. For good lefties like me, this is a joy to behold, because liberal policies get passed a whole lot quicker when members of the other team are clamoring to associate themselves with this style, thus endorsing his politics.

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